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Doing Transition Year or skipping ahead?.

The Transition Year(TY) programme has been available to students since 1992 and is designed to give teens a year to mature, learn new skills and gain both work and life experience. The year makes up a students fourth year of study, immediately after completing the Junior Certificate.

Transition Year varies hugely from school to school. Some schools offer TY on a select basis, or don't offer it at all, while others mark the year as mandatory. There is a lot to consider when making the decision between taking part in TY and continuing straight on to fifth year. Here, we outline the pro’s and con’s of both options as well as the important points to keep in mind when heading in to next year, regardless of which option you have gone for.

Taking part in Transition Year

Transition year can be a fantastic experience if you take part and push yourself to try new things.There are a number of benefits to taking part in TY:

  • TY gives students a fantastic opportunity to gain useful work experience. Most schools encourage students to take up two to three weeks of work experience during the year. This offers students an insight into the real working world.

  • As well as work experience, teens are encouraged to take up new skills or hobbies that are of interest to them. As TY students have quite a lot of flexibiliy, it is the perfect opportunity to learn something new and develop a new skill.

  • Transition Year helps teens to build confidence and mature into young adults. The extra year gives students a chance to grow up a little, with lots of new and exciting experiences. Schools often encourage TY students to take part in community placements, giving them an opportunity to work with the elderly or disadvantaged.

  • Friendships blossom during Transition Year. Activities tend to place an emphasis on teamwork and friendship, allowing students to get to know one another even better than before. Trips away and fun activities allow students to meet new friends and build on current friendships.

  • TY gives students a year to relax a little before diving into the tough Leaving Cert cycle. As well as this, teens have more time to think about leaving cert subjects and college choices. Many schools allow students to sample various subjects during transition year in order to get a taste for what they like.

While there are plenty of benefits to completing Transition Year, some students are simply not suited to the style of the programme and are less likely to benefit from the year. It is important to be aware of whether the year will be suited to you or not. In order to get the most from TY, students must be prepared to put some effort into taking part in activities and have a generally positive attitude towards the programme. Students who show little to no enthusiasm will gain very little from the year.

Skipping Transition Year

Continuing straight on to fifth year may be an option for students, but must be considered carefully. There are some important points to keep in mind while making your decision:

  • It can be difficult to motivate yourself to start studying immediately after completing your Junior Certificate exams. Remember that fifth and sixth year require hard work from the beginning. If you choose not to do TY, make sure to pace yourself well with your study and don’t allow yourself to burn out. While some students find it difficult to begin studying immediately after sitting the Junior Cert exams, others find it easier as they are already in a focussed exam mode.

  • Some schools offer more varied TY programmes than others. If you feel strongly that the year on offer in your school would not benefit you, you may be better off continuing into fifth year if your school is willing to facilitate it.

  • Remember, if you skip TY you will most likely be quite young going to college. Most student bars and students club nights won't allow under age students on the premises, so you may feel frustrated that you can't do what your friends are doing.

Some students simply aren't suited to or happy in the school environment and feel the need to progress through the school years quickly. If you are unhappy in school and feel motivated enough to get stuck in to the Leaving Cert study, continuing on to fifth year may be the best option for you.